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  1. #41
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    OK...so your claim here is that "Because people of different Christian denominations at one time disagreed and did bad things to one another, and "core doctrine" is a modern convention, there is no such thing as "core doctrine." Is that about ti? That is what you seem to be saying in your post above.
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  2. #42
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    I am saying that what qualifies as "core" doctrine has shifted over time and is thus only indicative of the contemporary status of the relationship of religions. Modern theological views on doctrine are no more cosmologically valid than views held in the past, since both claim to something out-of-time as their source, if you get my meaning.

  3. #43
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    You need to support that. It's not an argument unless it has supporting propositions. All you've given is an opinion.
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  4. #44
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    I think AF is right. The rub here is that Christianity is a amalgam of things that can be wholly different with a few trappings of things that are similar. For example, Mormans are Christians because they believe in Christ. Now I KNOW that most Christians would say, "The hell they are!!" But that is an excellent analogy of the point being put forth. What it is to be Christian is very different depending on which group of Christians you are talking to. For example, I was once a Methodist (aka Christian-Lite), and it was enough for us to believe in Christ to be a Christian. Not all Christians see it that way. Some think you need to do works and some say works don't mean diddley. Both of those lines of thought can be traced back to the bible and each can make it's own case based on which writer's assertions you want to follow.

    Take death for example. Modern Christians, in general, seem to think that when you die your "spirit" will go to either Heaven or Hell. This is really crappy theology. You can't even support this line of thought with the bible and for those of you that believe in the Nicene Creed.....you can't go along with this thought...and yet many like Methodists do.

    Since Christians cannot agree on what it is to be Christian it begs the question as to why? The simple answer is that the document that we have been given is so poorly put together that we can at BEST get a vague sense of what we should do. If we had ONE authoritative answer there wouldn't be denominations. There would be "one church" as your God would have wanted. That one church would have members that would have a clearly defined religion and they would know what it was they were supposed to do and how to be and there would be no disagreement over it because all one would have to do is read the bible and get the answer. Instead we have to take this guys word on faith that he's right, or maybe that guys thought on faith....or if we are really crazy we might assert our own line of thought. And some do! But we can't all be right and because there is so much disharmony within what it is to be "Christian" then the theology of Christianity is not whole and not implicit. What should be obvious is to some and not to others. IF that is the case then how can any of us ever say "I know X about God"? You can't. At best you can reason it out and speculate.

    Should we love thy neighbor? According to Christ, yes.

    What if he's gay? Large groups of Christians say that gay guy is an abomination and on the fast track to hell. Despite the fact that Christ said LOVE thy neighbor.

    Yet some Christians have NO issue with gays at all. In fact some are open minded enough to let them preach in their churches. Yet many say that terrible....even though ALL of us fall short of the glory of god and we are ALL sinners.

    In Heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here.

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  5. #45
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    I think AF is right. The rub here is that Christianity is a amalgam of things that can be wholly different with a few trappings of things that are similar. For example, Mormans are Christians because they believe in Christ. Now I KNOW that most Christians would say, "The hell they are!!" But that is an excellent analogy of the point being put forth. What it is to be Christian is very different depending on which group of Christians you are talking to. For example, I was once a Methodist (aka Christian-Lite), and it was enough for us to believe in Christ to be a Christian. Not all Christians see it that way. Some think you need to do works and some say works don't mean diddley. Both of those lines of thought can be traced back to the bible and each can make it's own case based on which writer's assertions you want to follow.
    They can be traced back, but not necessarily legitimately. Paul, in Galatians, tackles the exact issue of a works-based faith as running contrary to the truth of the Faith. He argues that they've perverted the truth and as a result are preaching an entirely different, and therefore false, gospel. It's not that what it IS to be a Christian changes from denomination to denomination. It's what is perceived to be Christian changes. I grew up Baptist with a dose of Catholicism (dad was baptist, mom was catholic) and my faith now shows no extended similarities to either as both denominations preach a "Gospel plus this" gospel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Take death for example. Modern Christians, in general, seem to think that when you die your "spirit" will go to either Heaven or Hell. This is really crappy theology. You can't even support this line of thought with the bible and for those of you that believe in the Nicene Creed.....you can't go along with this thought...and yet many like Methodists do.
    Sure we can support it. Matthew 10:28 has Jesus himself urging people not to fear someone who can destroy only the body, but be fearful of the One who can destroy both body AND Soul. Luke 23:43 has Jesus telling the thief on the cross that, "Today you will be with me in paradise" afterwhich both die. Logic dictates Jesus couldn't be referring to a physical afterlife in such a case and so had to be referencing a spiritual afterlife. So there would be two, and they're direct quotes from Christ. That would be a solid biblical basis to at least SAY there's a spiritual afterlife, and it fits well with Christ telling his disciples that he would go ahead of them to prepare their dwellings in the afterlife. Paul, in Romans, makes several references to dying and being reborn spiritually opposed to physically as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Since Christians cannot agree on what it is to be Christian it begs the question as to why? The simple answer is that the document that we have been given is so poorly put together that we can at BEST get a vague sense of what we should do. If we had ONE authoritative answer there wouldn't be denominations. There would be "one church" as your God would have wanted. That one church would have members that would have a clearly defined religion and they would know what it was they were supposed to do and how to be and there would be no disagreement over it because all one would have to do is read the bible and get the answer. Instead we have to take this guys word on faith that he's right, or maybe that guys thought on faith....or if we are really crazy we might assert our own line of thought. And some do! But we can't all be right and because there is so much disharmony within what it is to be "Christian" then the theology of Christianity is not whole and not implicit. What should be obvious is to some and not to others. IF that is the case then how can any of us ever say "I know X about God"? You can't. At best you can reason it out and speculate.
    I'd say such a pretty disingenuous thing to argue. We, and I referenced Galatians above, see exactly that happen in the earliest days of the Church. The disciples go out and preach the word, and you have instances where Churches start to teach or practice wrongly and have to be reminded of the truth of things and that they're teaching wrongly.

    We see it happen, not just on Galatians, but another area that really stands out is Thessalonica and Corinth (Thessalonians and Corinthians) where, Thessalonica Paul had to tackle the issue of the Church's stance on when Christ would return. In Corinthians, Paul had to tackle the issue of resurrection where it was now being rejected wholesale. And this was within thirty or so years of CHrist's ACTUALLY being there. So to argue that it's a patchwork that's vague and no one can be trusted to be accurate about it is a little slanted. It's human nature for perceptions and teachings to change over time. Hell, a scientist once reported that, among other things involving spiders, you're probably never more than three feet from a spider at a given moment. This was IMMEDIATELY misreported by news groups as "YOU'RE NEVER MORE THAN THREE FEET FROM A HOLY **** KILL YOU HELL-SPIDER!!11!!" But that doesn't mean we can't trust the NY Times.

    Or to put it another way, there is absolutely no biblical basis that says a water baptism has any impact on you spiritually. And there's nothing that says a child or infant should be baptised (before they've accepted the gospel). Throughout Acts, where people are baptised, it happens only AFTER they've accepted Christ, and it's done generally as a public display to show physically what they've experienced spiritually. In spite of that, there's numerous churches that teach a contrary message that baptism is necessary spiritually and that babies and children should be baptised regardless of whether or not they accepted the gospel. It's just an issue where those churches are adding to the gospel (Gospel Plus This) and need to be corrected.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Should we love thy neighbor? According to Christ, yes.

    What if he's gay? Large groups of Christians say that gay guy is an abomination and on the fast track to hell. Despite the fact that Christ said LOVE thy neighbor.

    Yet some Christians have NO issue with gays at all. In fact some are open minded enough to let them preach in their churches. Yet many say that terrible....even though ALL of us fall short of the glory of god and we are ALL sinners.
    And here again, this doesn't really stack up. Those people are just doing more of what we're talking about, Gospel Plus This, and it requires imagined text or distorted teachings to get that way.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

  6. #46
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    They can be traced back, but not necessarily legitimately. Paul, in Galatians, tackles the exact issue of a works-based faith as running contrary to the truth of the Faith. He argues that they've perverted the truth and as a result are preaching an entirely different, and therefore false, gospel. It's not that what it IS to be a Christian changes from denomination to denomination. It's what is perceived to be Christian changes. I grew up Baptist with a dose of Catholicism (dad was baptist, mom was catholic) and my faith now shows no extended similarities to either as both denominations preach a "Gospel plus this" gospel.
    But interesting enough Paul isn't the authority on works-based faith. He's just a guy. And HIS teachings do run contrary to other works in the bible.....even his own. At any rate you support my notion as you've already admitted to breaking away with two other denominations. When we all create our religion and god in our image all we have is a bunch of gods and religions that while they may be similar are not the same.


    Sure we can support it. Matthew 10:28 has Jesus himself urging people not to fear someone who can destroy only the body, but be fearful of the One who can destroy both body AND Soul. Luke 23:43 has Jesus telling the thief on the cross that, "Today you will be with me in paradise" afterwhich both die. Logic dictates Jesus couldn't be referring to a physical afterlife in such a case and so had to be referencing a spiritual afterlife. So there would be two, and they're direct quotes from Christ. That would be a solid biblical basis to at least SAY there's a spiritual afterlife, and it fits well with Christ telling his disciples that he would go ahead of them to prepare their dwellings in the afterlife. Paul, in Romans, makes several references to dying and being reborn spiritually opposed to physically as well.
    Not to fast Hoss. Matthew also says: Matthew 27:52-53
    "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

    That doesn't sound spiritual to me.

    Ezekiel 37:1-12 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

    That sounds pretty physical to me.

    4 Ezra 7:32 The earth shall restore those who sleep in her, and the dust those who rest in it, and the chambers those entrusted to them.

    Your boy Paul is all about a physical resurrection.

    2 Corinthians 5
    5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    The "tent" is your earthly body. But the spirit clearly gets deposited in another body made for you by god here.

    Phil. 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    BTW the word in Greek that Paul uses over and over is "soma". This means a physical body.

    Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

    All physical.



    I'd say such a pretty disingenuous thing to argue. We, and I referenced Galatians above, see exactly that happen in the earliest days of the Church. The disciples go out and preach the word, and you have instances where Churches start to teach or practice wrongly and have to be reminded of the truth of things and that they're teaching wrongly.

    We see it happen, not just on Galatians, but another area that really stands out is Thessalonica and Corinth (Thessalonians and Corinthians) where, Thessalonica Paul had to tackle the issue of the Church's stance on when Christ would return. In Corinthians, Paul had to tackle the issue of resurrection where it was now being rejected wholesale. And this was within thirty or so years of CHrist's ACTUALLY being there. So to argue that it's a patchwork that's vague and no one can be trusted to be accurate about it is a little slanted. It's human nature for perceptions and teachings to change over time. Hell, a scientist once reported that, among other things involving spiders, you're probably never more than three feet from a spider at a given moment. This was IMMEDIATELY misreported by news groups as "YOU'RE NEVER MORE THAN THREE FEET FROM A HOLY **** KILL YOU HELL-SPIDER!!11!!" But that doesn't mean we can't trust the NY Times.

    Nothing knew here. You are supporting my argument. In the early "church" there were already many different ideas on the nature of Christ and what it was exactly that he even was. Was he a man? Was he a God? Was he a bit of both? Was he both but more of one than another? Those very things led to several early Christian lines of thought that are no longer with us. The fact that people couldn't get it together shows how cobbled the whole things is. Also at the time of the early church....there was no bible. There were many writings and some that perhaps have been lost to time. There were many forgeries. Because your God seemed to not really care to establish his word clearly....it's still rather blurry even today. The entire concept of hell has changed several times since the term "sheol" was used by your earliest church fathers of the Jewish tradition. Everything about your religion evolves because it has to bend to mans will or man will leave it.


    Or to put it another way, there is absolutely no biblical basis that says a water baptism has any impact on you spiritually. And there's nothing that says a child or infant should be baptised (before they've accepted the gospel). Throughout Acts, where people are baptised, it happens only AFTER they've accepted Christ, and it's done generally as a public display to show physically what they've experienced spiritually. In spite of that, there's numerous churches that teach a contrary message that baptism is necessary spiritually and that babies and children should be baptised regardless of whether or not they accepted the gospel. It's just an issue where those churches are adding to the gospel (Gospel Plus This) and need to be corrected.

    I agree with you. I think if you look around at Christianity and you are honest about it...you will find a lot of bad theology that has led to practices and dogmas that have no real basis. These things don't add up. But the problem is that once a religion says "This is it" Then it becomes part of the religion and the religion can't really take it back or it shows how false it is.

    And here again, this doesn't really stack up. Those people are just doing more of what we're talking about, Gospel Plus This, and it requires imagined text or distorted teachings to get that way.

    It certainly stacks up. Go look at churches that have divided over this very issue. Anglicans have been dealing with this issue for years now and it's caused huge divides. And it happens because the bible isn't a very good answer for those types of questions. If you are all about "God hates fags" then you love the old testament. If you are a bit more open minded you like your preaching from the NT. Because we don't REALLY know the nature of god and all we have is faith all we can do is speculate and since there are no modern burning bushes to tell us what to do....we are on our own. Religion has become a "whatever you need it to be" smorgasbord and we all cherry pick the bits we like and we forget about or purposely become ignorant of the bits that are written down but don't like.

    In Heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here.

    Rogue Cardinal, Member of the God-Awful Atheist Syndicate


  7. #47
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    If we had ONE authoritative answer there wouldn't be denominations.
    If that is what the majority of people wanted, especially in a free society, it would most likely be so. What we want and choose is generally what we get.

    There would be "one church" as your God would have wanted.
    What God wills is not necessarily what man chooses. Also, who said God wants just one church?

    That one church would have members that would have a clearly defined religion and they would know what it was they were supposed to do and how to be and there would be no disagreement over it because all one would have to do is read the bible and get the answer.
    Are you implying that because some people don't find answers in the Bible to questions they may have about life and God that this is God's fault?

    Instead we have to take this guys word on faith that he's right, or maybe that guys thought on faith....or if we are really crazy we might assert our own line of thought. And some do! But we can't all be right and because there is so much disharmony within what it is to be "Christian" then the theology of Christianity is not whole and not implicit.
    If one is willing to dig deep into the history of religion and God, we may discover that what God and belief meant centuries ago is not what God and belief means today. Such a consideration may help us put into greater perspective the idea of belief verses living and practice.

    We are talking far too much about God these days, and what we say is often facile. In our democratic society, we think that the concept of God should be easy and that religion ought to be readily accessible to anybody. "That book was really hard!" readers have told me reproachfully, shaking their heads in faint reproof. "Of course it was!" I want to reply. "It was about God." But many find this puzzling. Surely everybody knows what God is: the Supreme Being, a divine Personality, who created the world and everything in it. They look perplexed if you point out that it is inaccurate to call God the Supreme Being because God is not a being at all, and that we really don't understand what we mean when we say that he is "good," "wise," or "intelligent." People of faith admit in theory that God is utterly transcendent, but they seem sometimes to assume that they know exactly who "he" is and what he thinks, loves, and expects. We tend to tame and domesticate God's "otherness." We regularly ask God to bless our nation, save our queen, cure our sickness, or give us a fine day for the picnic. We remind God that he has created the world and that we are miserable sinners, as though this may have slipped his mind. Politicians quote God to justify their policies, teachers use him to keep order in the classroom, and terrorists commit atrocities in his name. We beg God to support "our" side in an election or a war, even though our opponents are, presumably, also God's children and the object of his love and care.

    There is also a tendency to assume that, even though we now live in a totally transformed world and have an entirely different worldview, people have always thought about God in exactly the same way as we do today. But despite our scientific and technological brilliance, our religious thinking is sometimes remarkably undeveloped, even primitive. In some ways the modern God resembles the High God of remote antiquity, a theology that was unanimously either jettisoned or radically reinterpreted because it was found to be inept. Many people in the premodern world went out of their way to show that it was very difficult indeed to speak about God.

    Theology is, of course, a very wordy discipline. People have written reams and talked unstoppably about God. But some of the greatest Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians made it clear that while it was important to put our ideas about the divine into words, these doctrines were man- made, and therefore were bound to be inadequate. They devised spiritual exercises that deliberately subverted normal patterns of thought and speech to help the faithful understand that the words we use to describe mundane things were simply not suitable for God. "He" was not good, divine, powerful, or intelligent in any way that we could understand. We could not even say that God "existed," because our concept of existence was too limited. Some of the sages preferred to say that God was "Nothing" because God was not another being. You certainly could not read your scriptures literally, as if they referred to divine facts. To these theologians some of our modern ideas about God would have seemed idolatrous.

    It was not just a few radical theologians who took this line. Symbolism came more naturally to people in the premodern world than it does to us today. In medieval Europe, for example, Christians were taught to see the Mass as a symbolic reenactment of Jesus's life, death, and resurrection. The fact that they could not follow the Latin added to its mystique. Much of the Mass was recited by the priest in an undertone, and the solemn silence and liturgical drama, with its music and stylized gestures, put the congregation into a mental "space" that was separate from ordinary life. Today many are able to own a copy of the Bible or the Qur'an and have the literacy to read them, but in the past most people had an entirely different relationship with their scriptures. They listened to them, recited piecemeal, often in a foreign language and always in a heightened liturgical context. Preachers instructed them not to understand these texts in a purely literal way and suggested figurative interpretations. In the "mystery plays" performed annually on the feast of Corpus Christi, medievals felt free to change the biblical stories, add new characters, and transpose them into a modern setting. These stories were not historical in our sense, because they were more than history.

    In most premodern cultures, there were two recognized ways of thinking, speaking, and acquiring knowledge. The Greeks called them mythos and logos. Both were essential and neither was considered superior to the other; they were not in conflict but complementary. Each had its own sphere of competence, and it was considered unwise to mix the two. Logos ("reason") was the pragmatic mode of thought that enabled people to function effectively in the world. It had, therefore, to correspond accurately to external reality. People have always needed logos to make an efficient weapon, organize their societies, or plan an expedition. Logos was forward- looking, continually on the lookout for new ways of controlling the environment, improving old insights, or inventing something fresh. Logos was essential to the survival of our species. But it had its limitations: it could not assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life's struggles. For that people turned to mythos or "myth."

    Today we live in a society of scientific logos, and myth has fallen into disrepute. In popular parlance, a "myth" is something that is not true. But in the past, myth was not self- indulgent fantasy; rather, like logos, it helped people to live effectively in our confusing world, though in a different way.
    Myths may have told stories about the gods, but they were really focused on the more elusive, puzzling, and tragic aspects of the human predicament that lay outside the remit of logos. Myth has been called a primitive form of psychology. When a myth described heroes threading their way through labyrinths, descending into the underworld, or fighting monsters, these were not understood as primarily factual stories. They were designed to help people negotiate the obscure regions of the psyche, which are difficult to access but which profoundly influence our thought and behavior. People had to enter the warren of their own minds and fight their personal demons. When Freud and Jung began to chart their scientific search for the soul, they instinctively turned to these ancient myths. A myth was never intended as an accurate account of a historical event; it was something that had in some sense happened once but that also happens all the time.

    But a myth would not be effective if people simply "believed" in it. It was essentially a program of action. It could put you in the correct spiritual or psychological posture, but it was up to you to take the next step and make the "truth" of the myth a reality in your own life. The only way to assess the value and truth of any myth was to act upon it. The myth of the hero, for example, which takes the same form in nearly all cultural traditions, taught people how to unlock their own heroic potential.4 Later the stories of historical figures such as the Buddha, Jesus, or Muhammad were made to conform to this paradigm so that their followers could imitate them in the same way. Put into practice, a myth could tell us something profoundly true about our humanity. It showed us how to live more richly and intensely, how to cope with our mortality, and how creatively to endure the suffering that flesh is heir to. But if we failed to apply it to our situation, a myth would remain abstract and incredible. From a very early date, people reenacted their myths in stylized ceremonies that worked aesthetically upon participants and, like any work of art, introduced them to a deeper dimension of existence. Myth and ritual were thus inseparable, so much so that it is often a matter of scholarly debate which came first: the mythical story or the rites attached to it. Without ritual, myths made no sense and would remain as opaque as a musical score, which is impenetrable to most of us until interpreted instrumentally.

    Religion, therefore, was not primarily something that people thought but something they did Its truth was acquired by practical action. It is no use imagining that you will be able to drive a car if you simply read the manual or study the rules of the road. You cannot learn to dance, paint, or cook by perusing texts or recipes. The rules of a board game sound obscure, unnecessarily complicated, and dull until you start to play, when everything falls into place. There are some things that can be learned only by constant, dedicated practice, but if you persevere, you find that you achieve something that seemed initially impossible. Instead of sinking to the bottom of the pool, you can float. You may learn to jump higher and with more grace than seems humanly possible or sing with unearthly beauty. You do not always understand how you achieve these feats, because your mind directs your body in a way that bypasses conscious, logical deliberation. But somehow you learn to transcend your original capabilities. Some of these activities bring indescribable joy. A musician can lose herself in her music, a dancer becomes inseparable from the dance, and a skier feels entirely at one with himself and the external world as he speeds down the slope. It is a satisfaction that goes deeper than merely "feeling good." It is what the Greeks called ekstasis, a "stepping outside" the norm. Religion is a practical discipline that teaches us to discover new capacities of mind and heart. This will be one of the major themes of this book. It is no use magisterially weighing up the teachings of religion to judge their truth or falsehood before embarking on a religious way of life. You will discover their truth*or lack of it*only if you translate these doctrines into ritual or ethical action. Like any skill, religion requires perseverance, hard work, and discipline. Some people will be better at it than others, some appallingly inept, and some will miss the point entirely. But those who do not apply themselves will get nowhere at all. Religious people find it hard to explain how their rituals and practices work, just as a skater may not be fully conscious of the physical laws that enable her to glide over the ice on a thin blade.

    The early Daoists saw religion as a "knack" acquired by constant practice. Zhuangzi (c. 370–311 BCE), one of the most important figures in the spiritual history of China, explained that it was no good trying to analyze religious teachings logically. He cites the carpenter Bian: "When I work on a wheel, if I hit too softly, pleasant as this is, it doesn't make for a good wheel. If I hit it furiously, I get tired and the thing doesn't work! So not too soft, not too vigorous. I grasp it in my hand and hold it in my heart. I cannot express this by word of mouth, I just know it."6 A hunchback who trapped cicadas in the forest with a sticky pole never missed a single one. He had so perfected his powers of concentration that he lost himself in the task, and his hands seemed to move by themselves. He had no idea how he did it, but knew only that he had acquired the knack after months of practice. This self-forgetfulness, Zhuangzi explained, was an ekstasis that enabled you to "step outside" the prism of ego and experience the sacred.

    People who acquired this knack discovered a transcendent dimension of life that was not simply an external reality "out there" but was identical with the deepest level of their being. This reality, which they have called God, Dao, Brahman, or Nirvana, has been a fact of human life. But it was impossible to explain what it was in terms of logos. This imprecision was not frustrating, as a modern Western person might imagine, but brought with it an ekstasis that lifted practitioners beyond the constricting confines of self. Our scientifically oriented knowledge seeks to master reality, explain it, and bring it under the control of reason, but a delight in unknowing has also been part of the human experience. Even today, poets, philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists find that the contemplation of the insoluble is a source of joy, astonishment, and contentment.

    One of the peculiar characteristics of the human mind is its ability to have ideas and experiences that exceed our conceptual grasp. We constantly push our thoughts to an extreme, so that our minds seem to elide naturally into an apprehension of transcendence. Music has always been inseparable from religious expression, since, like religion at its best, music marks the "limits of reason." Because a territory is defined by its extremities, it follows that music must be "definitively" rational. It is the most corporeal of the arts: it is produced by breath, voice, horsehair, shells, guts, and skins and reaches "resonances in our bodies at levels deeper than will or consciousness." But it is also highly cerebral, requiring the balance of intricately complex energies and form-relations, and is intimately connected with mathematics. Yet this intensely rational activity segues into transcendence. Music goes beyond the reach of words: it is not about anything. A late Beethoven quartet does not represent sorrow but elicits it in hearer and player alike, and yet it is emphatically not a sad experience. Like tragedy, it brings intense pleasure and insight. We seem to experience sadness directly in a way that transcends ego, because this is not my sadness but sorrow itself. In music, therefore, subjective and objective become one. Language has borders that we cannot cross. When we listen critically to our stuttering attempts to express ourselves, we become aware of an inexpressible otherness. "It is decisively the fact that language does have frontiers," explains the British critic George Steiner, "that gives proof of a transcendent presence in the fabric of the world. It is just because we can go no further, because speech so marvellously fails us, that we experience the certitude of a divine meaning surpassing and enfolding ours." Every day, music confronts us with a mode of knowledge that defies logical analysis and empirical proof. It is "brimful of meanings which will not translate into logical structures or verbal expression." Hence all art constantly aspires to the condition of music; so too, at its best, does theology.

    A modern skeptic will find it impossible to accept Steiner's conclusion that "what lies beyond man's word is eloquent of God." But perhaps that is because we have too limited an idea of God. We have not been doing our practice and have lost the "knack" of religion. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a time that historians call the early modern period, Western people began to develop an entirely new kind of civilization, governed by scientific rationality and based economically on technology and capital investment. Logos achieved such spectacular results that myth was discredited and the scientific method was thought to be the only reliable means of attaining truth. This would make religion difficult, if not impossible. As theologians began to adopt the criteria of science, the mythoi of Christianity were interpreted as empirically, rationally, and historically verifiable and forced into a style of thinking that was alien to them. Philosophers and scientists could no longer see the point of ritual, and religious knowledge became theoretical rather than practical. We lost the art of interpreting the old tales of gods walking the earth, dead men striding out of tombs, or seas parting miraculously. We began to understand concepts such as faith, revelation, myth, mystery, and dogma in a way that would have been very surprising to our ancestors. In particular, the meaning of the word "belief" changed, so that a credulous acceptance of creedal doctrines became the prerequisite of faith, so much so that today we often speak of religious people as "believers," as though accepting orthodox dogma "on faith" were their most important activity.

    This rationalized interpretation of religion has resulted in two distinctively modern phenomena: fundamentalism and atheism. The two are related. The defensive piety popularly known as fundamentalism erupted in almost every major faith during the twentieth century. In their desire to produce a wholly rational, scientific faith that abolished mythos in favor of logos, Christian fundamentalists have interpreted scripture with a literalism that is unparalleled in the history of religion. In the United States, Protestant fundamentalists have evolved an ideology known as "creation science" that regards the mythoi of the Bible as scientifically accurate. They have, therefore, campaigned against the teaching of evolution in the public schools, because it contradicts the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis.

    Historically, atheism has rarely been a blanket denial of the sacred per se but has nearly always rejected a particular conception of the divine. At an early stage of their history, Christians and Muslims were both called "atheists" by their pagan contemporaries, not because they denied the reality of God but because their conception of divinity was so different that it seemed blasphemous. Atheism is therefore parasitically dependent on the form of theism it seeks to eliminate and becomes its reverse mirror image. Classical Western atheism was developed during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, whose ideology was essentially a response to and dictated by the theological perception of God that had developed in Europe and the United States during the modern period. The more recent atheism of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris is rather different, because it has focused exclusively on the God developed by the fundamentalisms, and all three insist that fundamentalism constitutes the essence and core of all religion. This has weakened their critique, because fundamentalism is in fact a defiantly unorthodox form of faith that frequently misrepresents the tradition it is trying to defend.But the "new atheists" command a wide readership, not only in secular Europe but even in the more conventionally religious United States. The popularity of their books suggests that many people are bewildered and even angered by the God concept they have inherited.

    It is a pity that Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris express themselves so intemperately, because some of their criticisms are valid. Religious people have indeed committed atrocities and crimes, and the fundamentalist theology the new atheists attack is indeed "unskillful," as the Buddhists would say. But they refuse, on principle, to dialogue with theologians who are more representative of mainstream tradition. As a result, their analysis is disappointingly shallow, because it is based on such poor theology. In fact, the new atheists are not radical enough. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians have insisted for centuries that God does not exist and that there is "nothing" out there; in making these assertions, their aim was not to deny the reality of God but to safeguard God's transcendence. In our talkative and highly opinionated society, however, we seem to have lost sight of this important tradition that could solve many of our current religious problems.

    I have no intention of attacking anybody's sincerely held beliefs. Many thousands of people find that the symbolism of the modern God works well for them: backed up by inspiring rituals and the discipline of living in a vibrant community, it has given them a sense of transcendent meaning. All the world faiths insist that true spirituality must be expressed consistently in practical compassion, the ability to feel with the other. If a conventional idea of God inspires empathy and respect for all others, it is doing its job. But the modern God is only one of the many theologies that developed during the three thousand-year history of monotheism. Because “God” is infinite, nobody can have the last word. I am concerned that many people are confused about the nature of religious truth, a perplexity exacerbated by the contentious nature of so much religious discussion at the moment. My aim in this book is simply to bring something fresh to the table.

    I can sympathize with the irritation of the new atheists, because, as I have explained in my memoir The Spiral Staircase, for many years I myself wanted nothing whatsoever to do with religion and some of my first books definitely tended to the Dawkinsesque. But my study of world religion during the last twenty years has compelled me to revise my earlier opinions. Not only has it opened my mind to aspects of religion as practiced in other traditions that qualified the parochial and dogmatic faith of my childhood, but a careful assessment of the evidence has made me see Christianity differently. One of the things I have learned is that quarreling about religion is counterproductive and not conducive to enlightenment. It not only makes authentic religious experience impossible but also violates the Socratic rationalist tradition.

    In the first part of this book, I have tried to show how people thought about God in the premodern world in a way that, I hope, throws light on some of the issues that people now find problematic*scripture, inspiration, creation, miracles, revelation, faith, belief, and mystery*as well as showing how religion goes wrong. In the second part, I trace the rise of the "modern God," which overturned so many traditional religious presuppositions. This cannot, of course, be an exhaustive account. I have focused on Christianity, because it was the tradition most immediately affected by the rise of scientific modernity and has also borne the brunt of the new atheistic assault. Further, within the Christian tradition I have concentrated on themes and traditions that speak directly to our present religious difficulties. Religion is complex; in every age, there are numerous strands of piety. No single tendency ever prevails in its entirety. People practice their faith in myriad contrasting and contradictory ways. But a deliberate and principled reticence about God and/or the sacred was a constant theme not only in Christianity but in the other major faith traditions until the rise of modernity in the West. People believed that God exceeded our thoughts and concepts and could be known only by dedicated practice. We have lost sight of this important insight, and this, I believe, is one of the reasons why so many Western people find the concept of God so troublesome today. Hence I have given special attention to this neglected discipline in the hope that it may throw light on our contemporary predicament. But I do not, of course, claim that this was a universal attitude; simply that it was a major element in the practice not only of Christianity but of other monotheistic and nontheistic faiths and that it needs to be drawn to our attention.

    Even though so many people are antagonistic to faith, the world is currently experiencing a religious revival. Contrary to the confident secularist predictions of the mid-twentieth century, religion is not going to disappear. But if it succumbs to the violent and intolerant strain that has always been inherent not only in the monotheisms but also in the modern scientific ethos, the new religiosity will be "unskillful." We are seeing a great deal of strident dogmatism today, religious and secular, but there is also a growing appreciation of the value of unknowing. We can never re-create the past, but we can learn from its mistakes and insights. There is a long religious tradition that stressed the importance of recognizing the limits of our knowledge, of silence, reticence, and awe. That is what I hope to explore in this book. One of the conditions of enlightenment has always been a willingness to let go of what we thought we knew in order to appreciate truths we had never dreamed of. We may have to unlearn a great deal about religion before we can move on to new insight. It is not easy to talk about what we call "God," and the religious quest often begins with the deliberate dissolution of ordinary thought patterns. This may be what some of our earliest ancestors were trying to create in their extraordinary underground temples.

    Excerpted from The Case for God by historian Karen Armstrong
    Last edited by eye4magic; July 27th, 2012 at 12:42 PM.
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You need to support that. It's not an argument unless it has supporting propositions. All you've given is an opinion.
    it's a matter of reason, is it not?

    Catholics believe that to deny their teaching is to deny Christ
    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heresy_in_Christianity
    Heresy is defined by Thomas Aquinas as "a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas."[12] The Catholic Church asserts and teaches that its doctrines are the authoritative understandings of the faith taught by Christ and that the Holy Spirit protects the Church from falling into error when teaching these doctrines. To deny one or more of those doctrines, therefore, is to deny the faith of Christ. Heresy is both the non orthodox belief itself, and the act of holding to that belief.
    even into the 20th century Protestants were considered heretics:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heresy_in_Christianity
    Well into the 20th century, Catholics still defined Protestants as heretics. Thus, Hillaire Belloc, in his time one of the most conspicuous speakers for Catholicism in Britain, was outspoken about the "Protestant heresy". He even defined Islam as being "a Christian heresy", on the grounds that Muslims accept many of the tenets of Christianity but deny the godhood of Jesus.
    so from the 16th century to the 20th, Catholics believed that Protestants were going to Hell. I'd say that that indicates their belief that they were separate religions. Now if we were travel back in time and ask them why they believed that, they'd probably say something about denying the God-given authority of the Church or something, which is the same as denying Christ. If you were to say, "Well, actually, you guys do share the same core doctrine, so you're actually one religion" they would obviously disagree with you vehemently and quote the Bible or the word of God as spoken through the Pope or something else.

    So what is clearly different is how much shared doctrine is required to be the same religion, and if it is even possible to share some doctrine and not others. These are questions that you have answered for yourself, but it would be intellectually dishonest to proscribe them to people of the past who 1)cannot disagree and 2)all evidence and reason points to the fact that they would disagree.

    it'd be like a modern democrat traveling back in time and telling early democrats that they, in fact, don't like slavery and actually agree with a lot of things their contemporary republicans are saying.

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Again, your argument appears to be fallacious because you are arguing that because there was (or even is) disagreement, there can be no core. It's like saying "Because there is a lot of disagreement in the field of quantum mechanics, then there is no such thing as "fundamentals" in quantum mechanics." And that is plainly false.
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    But interesting enough Paul isn't the authority on works-based faith. He's just a guy. And HIS teachings do run contrary to other works in the bible.....even his own. At any rate you support my notion as you've already admitted to breaking away with two other denominations. When we all create our religion and god in our image all we have is a bunch of gods and religions that while they may be similar are not the same.
    What teachings of Paul's contradict? And let's not forget that he's not "just a guy". He was a former Pharisee and well trained and educated in Hebrew scripture and law. He understood those things better than you or I.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Not to fast Hoss. Matthew also says: Matthew 27:52-53
    "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

    That doesn't sound spiritual to me.

    That's a pretty specialised instance, like the Ezekiel quote below. I would've gone with "what about Lazarus or the other people CHrist and his disciples brought back to life?" Or even, "What about in Acts when Paul talks a man to death and Paul resurrects him". But even there you still have a problem. THe OT consideration of resurrection was that when you come back it's a permanent resurrection IE, as an immortal physical body. Those people resurrected by CHrist and his disciples still died later on. When CHrist talked about paradise you've only got two reasonable options: A physical (this world) resurrection that lasts forever. OR a spiritual (realm and dwelling of God) resurrection that lasts forever. The former doesn't measure up well in light of references to spiritual rebirth, spiritual death, spiritual resurrection. More about that below.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Ezekiel 37:1-12 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

    That sounds pretty physical to me.

    Sure. And it is. But it, like the emptying tombs in Matthew, is a specialised instance. It's been some time since I've read Ezekiel, so I'd have to go back through it before I could give you a definitive view from me, but I wouldn't consider it a nail in the coffin.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Your boy Paul is all about a physical resurrection.

    2 Corinthians 5
    5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    The "tent" is your earthly body. But the spirit clearly gets deposited in another body made for you by god here.
    Right. And? The scripture here doesn't support your point the way you think it does. How would you expect him to explain to people with ZERO background in Jewish thought, who've come from pagan views, that when you die you have a soul that transcends the bonds of this world and moves into the next with God? ****, that's hard enough to explain NOW when people ARE familiar with the concepts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Phil. 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    BTW the word in Greek that Paul uses over and over is "soma". This means a physical body.

    It's also used when Paul refers to CHristians as a group. But there's nothing beyond semantics to suggest that he's referring to a physical body there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

    All physical.

    In reference to Christ, yes. But throughout Acts, and in a more detailed fashion in Romans, we see resurrection as a spiritual thing. Paul explains in Romans that through our belief in CHrist as our savior we have died, been buried, and are resurrected with him. But we haven't been crucified. We haven't been buried. We haven't actually died. So Paul is speaking about a spiritual death and resurrection for us. Christ PHYSICALLY died and was PHYSICALLY reborn and ascended into Heaven so that we could SPIRITUALLY die and SPIRITUALLY be resurrected so that when we do PHYSICALLY die, we'll continue our lives with Christ in Heaven.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Nothing knew here. You are supporting my argument. In the early "church" there were already many different ideas on the nature of Christ and what it was exactly that he even was. Was he a man? Was he a God? Was he a bit of both? Was he both but more of one than another? Those very things led to several early Christian lines of thought that are no longer with us. The fact that people couldn't get it together shows how cobbled the whole things is. Also at the time of the early church....there was no bible. There were many writings and some that perhaps have been lost to time. There were many forgeries. Because your God seemed to not really care to establish his word clearly....it's still rather blurry even today. The entire concept of hell has changed several times since the term "sheol" was used by your earliest church fathers of the Jewish tradition. Everything about your religion evolves because it has to bend to mans will or man will leave it.
    How is it blurry? What's evolved that forms the basis of what it actually means to be Christian that is different today than it was then?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    I agree with you. I think if you look around at Christianity and you are honest about it...you will find a lot of bad theology that has led to practices and dogmas that have no real basis. These things don't add up. But the problem is that once a religion says "This is it" Then it becomes part of the religion and the religion can't really take it back or it shows how false it is.
    That's the thing though, the criteria was established to determine who's a Follower of the Way in the early days. That hasn't changed. If anything, it's been a long procession of people trying to add to it, some more successfully than others, while those who maintain the original tenets of it have to continually fight against that. We can show what's not a legitimate part and what is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    It certainly stacks up. Go look at churches that have divided over this very issue. Anglicans have been dealing with this issue for years now and it's caused huge divides. And it happens because the bible isn't a very good answer for those types of questions. If you are all about "God hates fags" then you love the old testament. If you are a bit more open minded you like your preaching from the NT. Because we don't REALLY know the nature of god and all we have is faith all we can do is speculate and since there are no modern burning bushes to tell us what to do....we are on our own. Religion has become a "whatever you need it to be" smorgasbord and we all cherry pick the bits we like and we forget about or purposely become ignorant of the bits that are written down but don't like.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    [/I]
    You're missing the point I was making. It doesn't matter if it did or didn't divide the churches. The division stems from an issue of "Gospel Plus this" mentality. Pick any issue. Wealth? The Megachurches and guys like Joel Olsteen and Ted Haggard love wealth, and argue that God gives you those riches because of your righteousness. They tend to draw that teaching from Paul who, in 2nd Corinthians argues that God will increase your wealth. But they ignore the part of that where Paul explains that your wealth is only increased so that your charity can be increased. But again, this doesn't mean that acquisition of wealth is or isn't christian. Just that their interpretation and teaching is a "Gospel plus this" mentality, which has to be done away with.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    If that is what the majority of people wanted, especially in a free society, it would most likely be so. What we want and choose is generally what we get.
    Of course what people want is what people get. That why we have "Get rich quick" religion and mega churches. In as much as man cherry picks his religion to make it his own then man can never reconcile the truth of his religion because the truth of it is purely personal. It can have little or no meaning to the next person.

    In your excerpt from "The case for God"....I'm going to argue semantics. She says religion....she really means "spirituality". I am all for the "truth" of a spiritual person, but there is no truth in religion. What I mean by that is that there simply is no god for the religion to have sprung forth from. If there were a god it would be one god, one church and one way. Paul tries to set this up in the NT and fails. Why? Interpretation. When you don't have the ability to talk to god and have him talk back all you can do is speculate. That's why it's called faith.


    What God wills is not necessarily what man chooses. Also, who said God wants just one church?
    Especially if god isn't willing anything. Since the dominant faction here is Christian I'll limit this to that religion specifically, god wants the people to be united under one common set of thoughts and practices. "He" goes as far as to set forth rules and laws to help us govern ourselves and such. Then he warns that the words should never be changed. Jesus argues the same sentiment. If one isn't to alter the word of god then one shouldn't alter the religion either. It cheapens the religion and opens it up to be ripped to shreds by those on the outside that can see the "truth" of said religion.

    Are you implying that because some people don't find answers in the Bible to questions they may have about life and God that this is God's fault?
    If people seek answers about religion and turn to their bible that is supposed to have all the answers then they will be hopelessly let down. If said people believe that the bible is actually the word of god it gets worse because how could their god in his all knowing state leave such a terrible book behind for us to try to piece together? If it is actually gods word and that's the best he can do then it is his fault. Then the god has the audacity to condemn me to hell because I simply cannot believe the words of the bible as they are clearly poorly written. I'm somehow wicked or evil because I was created to be able to see the "truth" about the creation of the bible? It's absurd to think such a wonderful deity would be such a pig headed dolt, but he does it to himself if we are to believe it's the literal word of god.

    But to say it's clearly not the word of god does even more damage. Because then we can say it peoples opinions and thoughts at the time. Who knows how those thoughts might have changed over time? This guy says one thing and that guy says the story completely differently as to not be the same story. What am I to make of that? I'll tell you what I make of it. It's rubbish.

    ---------- Post added at 01:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:25 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    What teachings of Paul's contradict? And let's not forget that he's not "just a guy". He was a former Pharisee and well trained and educated in Hebrew scripture and law. He understood those things better than you or I.
    Paul is a real rockstar in the bible. But Paul has huge issues with me. Part of the problem with writings attributed to Paul is that almost half of them we know he didn't write. What's worse is that the things he did write contradict themselves. 3 times in the bible we hear the story about Paul's conversion. 3 times we are told different stories. 2 times Paul tells it and one time "Luke" tells it in Acts.

    But we don't have to leave it there. In galations 2:16 Paul tells us:

    "Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the works of the law, but by the FAITH of Jesus Christ."

    Also in Romans 3:20, 28
    "Therefore by the DEEDS of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight."

    And in Ephesians 2:8,9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith...not of works"

    This contradicts James 2:24
    "Ye see then how that by works a man IS justified, and not by faith alone."

    It's also against Matthew 19:16-21
    "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he {Jesus} said unto him...keep the commandments...The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up:what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven."

    And by contradicting Matthew....apparently contradicting Jesus himself. Whom knows Jesus better James or Paul? James is the brother of Jesus and you find rebuttal to Paul's teachings in James writings. Why? Because James actually hung outwith Jesus. Paul never did. Paul doesn't know jack compared to James on things Jesus taught.



    What about the Sabbath?

    Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sababth day to keep it holy."

    I know....thats for the Jeeeews right?

    But Jesus says to keep the law and not to change any of it. Yet Paul writes in Colossians 2:16
    "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath day."

    Jesus says in Matthew 5:17 that "he comes to fulfill the law, not destroy it."

    Yet Paul says in Romans 10:4 ""For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for every one who believes."

    I could go on and on here. But I think I've done enough to make my point. Paul's got good stuff don't get me wrong here. HE just doesn't line up with ol' JC very well, though he does like to trumpet his "meeting" with Jesus as a way to justify his teachings. All that is is name dropping.


    That's a pretty specialised instance, like the Ezekiel quote below. I would've gone with "what about Lazarus or the other people CHrist and his disciples brought back to life?" Or even, "What about in Acts when Paul talks a man to death and Paul resurrects him". But even there you still have a problem. THe OT consideration of resurrection was that when you come back it's a permanent resurrection IE, as an immortal physical body. Those people resurrected by CHrist and his disciples still died later on. When CHrist talked about paradise you've only got two reasonable options: A physical (this world) resurrection that lasts forever. OR a spiritual (realm and dwelling of God) resurrection that lasts forever. The former doesn't measure up well in light of references to spiritual rebirth, spiritual death, spiritual resurrection. More about that below.
    So much for the Nicene Creed....."resurrection of the body" or even "resurrection of the dead" Doesn't sound spiritual to me. But like I said it all depends on whom you are reading. then you just pick your poison.

    Sure. And it is. But it, like the emptying tombs in Matthew, is a specialised instance. It's been some time since I've read Ezekiel, so I'd have to go back through it before I could give you a definitive view from me, but I wouldn't consider it a nail in the coffin.
    Justify how it's a special instance. Again....there is a difference between getting your body back, getting a new body altogether, and just being a spirit. These ideas can all be found in the bible. What's a man to make of such contradiction?

    Right. And? The scripture here doesn't support your point the way you think it does. How would you expect him to explain to people with ZERO background in Jewish thought, who've come from pagan views, that when you die you have a soul that transcends the bonds of this world and moves into the next with God? ****, that's hard enough to explain NOW when people ARE familiar with the concepts.
    I think you might be trying to be obtuse here. He's clearly making the case for a physical resurrection. To claim otherwise based on ANYTHING Paul says is just academic dishonesty.

    It's also used when Paul refers to CHristians as a group. But there's nothing beyond semantics to suggest that he's referring to a physical body there.
    Which is my point.....physical....not spiritual......

    In reference to Christ, yes. But throughout Acts, and in a more detailed fashion in Romans, we see resurrection as a spiritual thing. Paul explains in Romans that through our belief in CHrist as our savior we have died, been buried, and are resurrected with him. But we haven't been crucified. We haven't been buried. We haven't actually died. So Paul is speaking about a spiritual death and resurrection for us. Christ PHYSICALLY died and was PHYSICALLY reborn and ascended into Heaven so that we could SPIRITUALLY die and SPIRITUALLY be resurrected so that when we do PHYSICALLY die, we'll continue our lives with Christ in Heaven.
    So much for the wage of sin is death. You will die. Paul says you will be reborn....physically....and AFTER you die. Your body will be imperishable. It will be a physical thing.

    I think after reading up in Ezekiel....you really need to dig into Paul's stuff. Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 15.

    How is it blurry? What's evolved that forms the basis of what it actually means to be Christian that is different today than it was then?
    What's it take to be a Christian? What sacraments should you observe? What should you believe about your God? These are all things that are not answered by religion other than to parrot "we are right and you are wrong". Those aren't answers. It's a claim. Multiple claims have been made by multiple denominations. Who can tell whom is right?

    That's the thing though, the criteria was established to determine who's a Follower of the Way in the early days. That hasn't changed. If anything, it's been a long procession of people trying to add to it, some more successfully than others, while those who maintain the original tenets of it have to continually fight against that. We can show what's not a legitimate part and what is.
    Now I think you need to go back and read up on the early Christians. You do know that "in the beginning" of Christianity there were several options to choose from right? Eventually the Catholics won out. Then of course things changed and hello Protestants. The criteria has changed. And in many cases the criteria help designate which group or subset of Christian you belong to. The things that are NOT legitimate are the prevailing thoughts these days. All one has to do is follow along in chronology with their bible to find that within the bible religion changed and evolved. There is no "The Way" There is "Our way" and "your way".....and everyone has forgotten about "Ya-way" <---hehehehehe I made a funny.


    You're missing the point I was making. It doesn't matter if it did or didn't divide the churches. The division stems from an issue of "Gospel Plus this" mentality. Pick any issue. Wealth? The Megachurches and guys like Joel Olsteen and Ted Haggard love wealth, and argue that God gives you those riches because of your righteousness. They tend to draw that teaching from Paul who, in 2nd Corinthians argues that God will increase your wealth. But they ignore the part of that where Paul explains that your wealth is only increased so that your charity can be increased. But again, this doesn't mean that acquisition of wealth is or isn't christian. Just that their interpretation and teaching is a "Gospel plus this" mentality, which has to be done away with.
    It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven.....your Jesus said it best. It's at that point the rich folks commissioned giant blenders to be made and they just squirted camels through the needles allowing themselves access to the kingdom of heaven. HAHAHAHAHA

    I think the line in the sand is really more about what is evil. Is man evil or is man able to be evil. Religion says man is basically evil and not capable of not sinning. I say man chooses to do sin because man is selfish. Not all men are selfish. But there are many that are. It's like anything. Religion itself isn't really evil. It's what man does with it. Money isn't evil. It's what man does with it. A gun is a tool. It's harmless without man. Man chooses to use it as a tool or a weapon. God has nothing to do with it nor do devils and demons.

    At any rate I think you undermine your religion by throwing it's tenant under the bus so that you may create a new mythology out of it. It's like watching a Passion Play at Christmas. TRY to follow along in your bible. You'll get lost. It's just a mash up of two distinctly different stories. And we tell the new version so much it becomes the truth and we forget what is actually in the bible. To much of that sort of stuff these days too. Man corrupts his own religion. Man sees the issues with it and sees why it needs to change. But you can't change god's word. You have to keep it. So man has to keep thinking of ways to trick his followers so they don't have to do all that reading and thinking stuff.

    In Heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here.

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Paul is a real rockstar in the bible. But Paul has huge issues with me. Part of the problem with writings attributed to Paul is that almost half of them we know he didn't write. What's worse is that the things he did write contradict themselves. 3 times in the bible we hear the story about Paul's conversion. 3 times we are told different stories. 2 times Paul tells it and one time "Luke" tells it in Acts.
    I have yet to see a contradiction in Paul's telling of his conversion. And again, you're not actually telling me how Paul contradicts himself other than claiming, again, that he contradicted himself. If he contradicted himself, then by all means, show me how and where. If there's a problem with his testimony, show me the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    But we don't have to leave it there. In galations 2:16 Paul tells us:

    "Knowing that a man is NOT justified by the works of the law, but by the FAITH of Jesus Christ."

    Also in Romans 3:20, 28
    "Therefore by the DEEDS of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight."

    And in Ephesians 2:8,9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith...not of works"

    This contradicts James 2:24
    "Ye see then how that by works a man IS justified, and not by faith alone."

    It's also against Matthew 19:16-21
    "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he {Jesus} said unto him...keep the commandments...The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up:what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven."

    And by contradicting Matthew....apparently contradicting Jesus himself. Whom knows Jesus better James or Paul? James is the brother of Jesus and you find rebuttal to Paul's teachings in James writings. Why? Because James actually hung outwith Jesus. Paul never did. Paul doesn't know jack compared to James on things Jesus taught.
    You're misreading again. What Jesus is doing to the rich young man in Matthew is humbling him. He's telling him, "Cool, you've kept the commandments, now give up everything you have and give it all to the poor." And that was too much for the guy. It's to demonstrate a point that is repeatedly echoed: You CANNOT keep the Law in its entirety. It's impossible. You WILL fail.

    James is another instance where you're misreading or misunderstanding what's being said. James isn't saying that works save you. He's expounding upon a point made earlier in that chapter:

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    James 2:14-17

    What he's explaining to them is that works without faith are useless and the reverse is true as well, that faith without works is useless and for a good reason. If you commit to works without faith then you're saying that YOU are your savior, which is a hellbound path. If you claim faith, but there's no action that comes from it, then your faith isn't real. That true faith manifests itself IN works. Works don't save you. They aren't necessary. But good works come from good faith. BECAUSE you have faith you will committ to good works.

    So there's no contradiction here. Faith is still what saves you. That hasn't changed between any of those passages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    What about the Sabbath?

    Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sababth day to keep it holy."

    I know....thats for the Jeeeews right?

    But Jesus says to keep the law and not to change any of it. Yet Paul writes in Colossians 2:16
    "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath day."

    Jesus says in Matthew 5:17 that "he comes to fulfill the law, not destroy it."

    Yet Paul says in Romans 10:4 ""For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for every one who believes."

    I could go on and on here. But I think I've done enough to make my point. Paul's got good stuff don't get me wrong here. HE just doesn't line up with ol' JC very well, though he does like to trumpet his "meeting" with Jesus as a way to justify his teachings. All that is is name dropping.
    Yeah, BAM! Way to show me! Nevermind that Jesus himself talks about working on the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-14. First his disciples are caught eating wheat on the Sabbath, and later Jesus is questioned about whether or not it's okay to heal on the Sabbath, to which he answers with a question about catching a sheep and finishes by saying, "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath". Now, you can go ahead that Jesus is then changing the law and yadda yadda, but it doesn't change that Paul's writing doesn't contradict what Jesus is saying. As far as food, and whether or not it's okay to eat or drink this or that, Jesus explains that what goes into the body isn't what makes it unclean, but what comes OUT of the body makes it unclean (again, Paul's writing doesn't contradict here) and in Acts we have Peter receiving a vision from God of various animals and God explaining that Peter can eat any of them and not be made unclean by it. So, you know, again it's not a contradiction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    So much for the Nicene Creed....."resurrection of the body" or even "resurrection of the dead" Doesn't sound spiritual to me. But like I said it all depends on whom you are reading. then you just pick your poison.
    How is that a relevant or even coherent reply to what I said?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Justify how it's a special instance. Again....there is a difference between getting your body back, getting a new body altogether, and just being a spirit. These ideas can all be found in the bible. What's a man to make of such contradiction?
    Allow me to read Ezekiel, and if I haven't responded in a few (we'll say 7 days given the number of chapters) days, PM me or leave a note.

    Okay, I read the relevant section and I've found the problem. It's at the end of the section:

    Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. ’”
    Ezekiel 37:11-14

    Out of context it sounds really physical. They're out there and God is literally commanding Ezekiel to resurrect this zombie army of sorts. But the last paragraph answers to what exactly is going on there, and zombie army ain't it. The bones are representative of the people of Israel, who have been worshipping false idols for some three hundreds now. So, spiritually, they are long dead. As a corpse, just dried up old bones. They cry out from their decayed state that their hope is gone, which is because God has admittedly given them over to their ways. So what's happening in the valley here is a vision of the people of Israel, dead in sin crying out that their hope is gone. God is telling Ezekiel that He is going to bring them back. Renew their faith and bring them back into the fold. That's pretty much it. It's not a physical resurrection at all. I'm a bit shocked, actually since when I first saw that bit I had the same reaction you have, that it's a physical instance and that Ezekiel has straight up Necromancered an entire army. But that's not what's happening here at all. It's a metaphor about sin and spiritual rebirth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    I think you might be trying to be obtuse here. He's clearly making the case for a physical resurrection. To claim otherwise based on ANYTHING Paul says is just academic dishonesty.
    I'm not trying to be obtuse. He's explaining death and the afterlife. You use the tools you've got and hell, maybe I'm wrong here and it is a physical death and spiritual transplant into another physical body.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Which is my point.....physical....not spiritual......
    But he uses the same word to refer to the body of CHrist when talking about the CHurch calling groups of people "the body". So clearly there's an issue of context at work in the passages otherwise you'd be arguing that since soma means ONLY a "Physical body" then the many followers make up a PHYSICAL BODY of Christ like he's the Theological equivalent of Voltron.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    So much for the wage of sin is death. You will die. Paul says you will be reborn....physically....and AFTER you die. Your body will be imperishable. It will be a physical thing.
    Again, not really sure how that's a coherent reply to what I'm saying.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    I think after reading up in Ezekiel....you really need to dig into Paul's stuff. Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 15.
    I actually have been. I've already read both letters to Corinth. Paul in fifteen talks about resurrection and how the Church in Corinth was rejecting that Christ came back and how, if that's the case, they might as well not even be Christians because Christianity without resurrection is like a car with no engine it's completely pointless. Again, I'm not entirely sure you have an accurate view of my position on this issue. Maybe I wasn't clear enough, or we haven't covered enough of it in detail, but your responses lead me to believe you have a pretty misunderstood view of my stance. I'll take fault for that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    What's it take to be a Christian? What sacraments should you observe? What should you believe about your God? These are all things that are not answered by religion other than to parrot "we are right and you are wrong". Those aren't answers. It's a claim. Multiple claims have been made by multiple denominations. Who can tell whom is right?
    I'm actually a little confused by your questions here. I really wish I wasn't, but I am. Is there perhaps some other way to phrase all that in a less...that...kind of manner?

    The best I can do to answer that is to provide the following. To be a Christian one must:

    1. Accept Jesus CHrist as the Lord and Savior of mankind who came and died on the cross, was buried for three days, and resurrected on the third day to appear as recorded in the gospels.
    2. That you have to cry out for God's mercy.
    3. That you DO have to be baptised*.


    *Baptism. This isn't because Baptism confers any spiritual effect. I don't believe it does, nor does the Church I attend. There's nothing scriptural to indicate that children or infants should be baptised or that ANYONE who doesn't believe or is incapable of belief (again, infants and such) should be baptised. That the purpose of baptism is to demonstrate through a physical ritual what has happened to your spiritually. It's occasion to demonstrate publicly what's happened in your life and share your testimony with others.

    In other words. What I point to for the criteria? Comes from the Gospels and Acts. And those above are the only criteria listed and that's how they're listed. That in every instance a person A: Repents, B: Accepts Christ as told, and C: Becomes baptised. That's pretty much it. Everything in addition to that as a requirement for salvation is "Gospel plus this" mentality that's leading people astray.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Now I think you need to go back and read up on the early Christians. You do know that "in the beginning" of Christianity there were several options to choose from right? Eventually the Catholics won out. Then of course things changed and hello Protestants. The criteria has changed. And in many cases the criteria help designate which group or subset of Christian you belong to. The things that are NOT legitimate are the prevailing thoughts these days. All one has to do is follow along in chronology with their bible to find that within the bible religion changed and evolved. There is no "The Way" There is "Our way" and "your way".....and everyone has forgotten about "Ya-way" <---hehehehehe I made a funny.
    Okay, you're still insisting that because specific views and interpretations won out over others, that therefore THAT must be what the criteria really is. But that doesn't make any sense. If such is the case, then every time some new influence comes in and gains sway, the necessary criteria will change. That would mean that the necessary criteria to be saved would always be changing. That just doesn't make any sense.

    By that logic, if a bunch of people claiming to be atheists start touting the Panspermia theory for the origins of life, and say that "Hey, that's what you gotta believe to be an atheist" then you would have to accept Panspermia otherwise, you're not an atheist. That logic is flawed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    At any rate I think you undermine your religion by throwing it's tenant under the bus so that you may create a new mythology out of it. It's like watching a Passion Play at Christmas. TRY to follow along in your bible. You'll get lost. It's just a mash up of two distinctly different stories. And we tell the new version so much it becomes the truth and we forget what is actually in the bible. To much of that sort of stuff these days too. Man corrupts his own religion. Man sees the issues with it and sees why it needs to change. But you can't change god's word. You have to keep it. So man has to keep thinking of ways to trick his followers so they don't have to do all that reading and thinking stuff.
    How am I throwing its tenants under a bus? What, to your understanding, are the tenants? How am I creating a new mythology?
    Last edited by Mr. Hyde; July 28th, 2012 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Adding answer for Ezekiel passage.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Again, your argument appears to be fallacious because you are arguing that because there was (or even is) disagreement, there can be no core. It's like saying "Because there is a lot of disagreement in the field of quantum mechanics, then there is no such thing as "fundamentals" in quantum mechanics." And that is plainly false.
    But the difference is that faith is involved in religion. It's not two competing theories, it's two sides who know the Truth, and their truths are mutually exclusive. Religion cannot be compared to competing scientific theories in which it is understood that neither side really knows the answer.

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Of course what people want is what people get. That why we have "Get rich quick" religion and mega churches. In as much as man cherry picks his religion to make it his own then man can never reconcile the truth of his religion because the truth of it is purely personal. It can have little or no meaning to the next person.
    Just because your neighbor may not recognize some bit of truth the same way you do, does not mean it's not truth. It just means you're both different in your level of understanding. We're not all robots, btw. We're all slightly different to a greater or smaller degree.

    Just because the members of one church recognize the truth of its pastos and sermons as truth, while another congregation may not understand it the same way, does not mean it's not truth.

    What is at the core of Christ' ianity within all the current denominations? I would say Christ, would you agree?

    I am all for the "truth" of a spiritual person, but there is no truth in religion. What I mean by that is that there simply is no god for the religion to have sprung forth from. If there were a god it would be one god, one church and one way.
    Why would you limit God to work only through one agency, or why is your god restricted to only be experienced one way?

    Paul tries to set this up in the NT and fails. Why? Interpretation. When you don't have the ability to talk to god and have him talk back all you can do is speculate. That's why it's called faith.
    Faith is a viable workable option-- and it works for many people. Another viable option we have is to come to know God. And then there's also both options together....

    Especially if god isn't willing anything. Since the dominant faction here is Christian I'll limit this to that religion specifically, god wants the people to be united under one common set of thoughts and practices. "He" goes as far as to set forth rules and laws to help us govern ourselves and such.
    Or, because we've lost (forgotten) the way to live harmoniously, peacefully and with compassion.

    Then he warns that the words should never be changed.Jesus argues the same sentiment. If one isn't to alter the word of god then one shouldn't alter the religion either.
    Religions have come and gone throughout history. God is not restricted by religion. What good is a religion if man stops to practice it, especially if its principles are noble and pure? What good is a religion if it doesn't work? Work at what? What is the purpose of religion?

    It cheapens the religion and opens it up to be ripped to shreds by those on the outside that can see the "truth" of said religion.
    If a religion stops working for people -- in their lives, the cycles of change will eventually push it away from the masses as an option.

    If people seek answers about religion and turn to their bible that is supposed to have all the answers then they will be hopelessly let down. If said people believe that the bible is actually the word of god it gets worse because how could their god in his all knowing state leave such a terrible book behind for us to try to piece together?
    Because along with the Book, it looks like God left us his Spirit for just this reason that you state .... it gives man, through the agency of grace, the ability to discern and recognize truth.

    But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 114:26

    Now, just as with material tools, if we don't know how to use, let alone recognize a useful tool, we may conclude or think: "this tool doesn't work -- it's rubbish." On the other other hand, we can learn how to use the tool and become proficient at using it. So it is with spiritual tools, we must learn how to use (apply) them.

    If it is actually gods word and that's the best he can do then it is his fault.
    Actually, he gave this world to man, for 'man to take dominion over.' That's a huge responsibility, if you ask me. I think that means if we break something, we own it (are accountable for it) thus we get to fix it -- just like in our personal lives.

    Then the god has the audacity to condemn me to hell
    That's amazing RC. Have you talked to God recently where he gave you this revelation?

    because I simply cannot believe the words of the bible as they are clearly poorly written.
    I'm sure I can point verses out in the Bible that would make a lot of sense to you.

    I'm somehow wicked or evil because I was created to be able to see the "truth" about the creation of the bible?
    The Bible wasn't even around when man was created.

    It's absurd to think such a wonderful deity would be such a pig headed dolt, but he does it to himself if we are to believe it's the literal word of god.But to say it's clearly not the word of god does even more damage. Because then we can say it peoples opinions and thoughts at the time. Who knows how those thoughts might have changed over time? This guy says one thing and that guy says the story completely differently as to not be the same story. What am I to make of that? I'll tell you what I make of it. It's rubbish.
    It seems that you've created this nice little box of mental constructs. To me, at least, it sounds like your box goes something like this.

    Because it makes no rational sense to me to take the Bible literally (I don't take it literally, btw), and because I have no way of knowing what is true and what is not true in this book, the whole book is rubbish. Because I choose not to take personal responsibly to understand whatever knowledge may be in this vast historical body of knowledge outlining thousands of years of history and events, this entire body of knowledge and information, the Bible, is rubbish. Furthermore, because I may lack the current spiritual discernment to know and understand the truth versus what is not truth in this book, the whole book is a waste and has nothing to teach and or offer me because I don't have the ability to know what is true versus what is not true.

    Does that sound about right?
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by AuspiciousFist View Post
    But the difference is that faith is involved in religion. It's not two competing theories, it's two sides who know the Truth, and their truths are mutually exclusive. Religion cannot be compared to competing scientific theories in which it is understood that neither side really knows the answer.
    Plenty of scientific debates involve people of differing views who are convinced that their opponents are being fools. Look at the Einstein-Bohr debates. Pretty sure both those guys were sure they were right.
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Plenty of scientific debates involve people of differing views who are convinced that their opponents are being fools. Look at the Einstein-Bohr debates. Pretty sure both those guys were sure they were right.

    They were however aware that they could be wrong.

    There is a wide gap between emperical, rational, theories of how the universe functions, and the supernatural or magic. The latter we can pretty much just make up what we need to fill in the blanks of our theory.

    For example. God created the universe old to trick us and test out faith. Or God has free will but it's a different kind of free will than humas because God can't choose to be evil. God created this special state for himself and is able to because he is God and all powerful.

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    I have yet to see a contradiction in Paul's telling of his conversion. And again, you're not actually telling me how Paul contradicts himself other than claiming, again, that he contradicted himself. If he contradicted himself, then by all means, show me how and where. If there's a problem with his testimony, show me the problem.
    My bad. I meant to do that and got side tracked. I haven't slept much lately. At any rate, the story of Pauls conversion is told 3 times. Once by Luke and twice by Paul. Luke tells the tale in Acts 9:7. In this story the unnamed men with Paul see NOTHING but hear only a voice. It's says there was clearly "no man". Luke is telling the story in Acts 9. But later in Acts 22:9 Paul is telling the story in there he says the men with him saw a light...and heard NO voice. Acts 26:14 Paul is telling the story yet again and in this version he says, "I heard a voice speaking unto me." so in this one the men with him saw nothing and heard nothing. Paul contradicts himself at least once and if it was really he that told Luke the account Luke writes then in court we could call Paul an unreliable witness. He can't tell the story of the most significant event in his life the same way twice.

    You're misreading again. What Jesus is doing to the rich young man in Matthew is humbling him. He's telling him, "Cool, you've kept the commandments, now give up everything you have and give it all to the poor." And that was too much for the guy. It's to demonstrate a point that is repeatedly echoed: You CANNOT keep the Law in its entirety. It's impossible. You WILL fail.
    Jesus is demonstrating to the man that he needs to do works. What the man lacks is the doing. We also worships two master's. Which is the bigger point. He has to GIVE his money away so that it won't be an obstacle to God. But he has to DO something to get something. In essence he is doing a work.

    James is another instance where you're misreading or misunderstanding what's being said. James isn't saying that works save you. He's expounding upon a point made earlier in that chapter:

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    James 2:14-17

    What he's explaining to them is that works without faith are useless and the reverse is true as well, that faith without works is useless and for a good reason. If you commit to works without faith then you're saying that YOU are your savior, which is a hellbound path. If you claim faith, but there's no action that comes from it, then your faith isn't real. That true faith manifests itself IN works. Works don't save you. They aren't necessary. But good works come from good faith. BECAUSE you have faith you will committ to good works.
    Thanks for making my point for me. James says you MUST do works and have faith. Paul says you need faith alone. BTW just because you have have faith does not mean you will commit to good works. You should, but many don't.


    So there's no contradiction here. Faith is still what saves you. That hasn't changed between any of those passages.
    Faith is what saves you.....but if you do nothing with that faith then you are doomed. It's like having knowledge of what you are supposed to do but you don't do anything with it. James supports YOUR version of theology....Paul doesn't.

    Contradiction.


    Yeah, BAM! Way to show me! Nevermind that Jesus himself talks about working on the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-14. First his disciples are caught eating wheat on the Sabbath, and later Jesus is questioned about whether or not it's okay to heal on the Sabbath, to which he answers with a question about catching a sheep and finishes by saying, "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath". Now, you can go ahead that Jesus is then changing the law and yadda yadda, but it doesn't change that Paul's writing doesn't contradict what Jesus is saying. As far as food, and whether or not it's okay to eat or drink this or that, Jesus explains that what goes into the body isn't what makes it unclean, but what comes OUT of the body makes it unclean (again, Paul's writing doesn't contradict here) and in Acts we have Peter receiving a vision from God of various animals and God explaining that Peter can eat any of them and not be made unclean by it. So, you know, again it's not a contradiction.
    Oh but I get the luxury of not having to argue strictly from a Christian point of view. Jesus falls well short of fulfilling prophesies of the Messiah and goes as far as to do things to purposefully fulfill prophesy which is really really bad when talking about things being authentic and all. It would be like me riding an ass into Jerusalem and proclaiming myself the Messiah and going, "See I'm on a donkey, that's what the messiah was prophesied to do." Terrible. So at best we can say that Jesus does change things for people in that he was contradicting himself by saying one thing "Keep the Sabbath and the laws" and yet doing another, (ie working on the sabbath and other rule breakers.)

    I'll concede that Paul lines up with Jesus on the Sabbath. But both of them are out of line with what God commanded.


    How is that a relevant or even coherent reply to what I said?
    We where speaking about physical and spiritual resurrections. You like some christians believe in a spiritual one. Others in Christianity refer to a physical one. So I pointed out the Nicene Creed which lines out Christian beliefs in a neat little package where it specifically says that they believe in a "Resurrection" of the "BODY" or in certain versions a "resurrection of the dead". You have yet to support your claim that Paul is speaking of a spiritual resurrection. That's because it's impossible to do. What you have done though is confuse the notion of a "spiritual rebirth" with a "physical resurrection". Common mistake a lot of Christians make. You know as well as I that these are two different events completely and are not related. You were dead spiritually but found Christ and was reborn. But in that sense you never REALLY died. However when you are really dead, it's not your spirit alone that goes to the netherworld, depending on which writings you believe the most in the bible you WILL have a your physical body back or you will get a new body for your spirit to be housed in made by god that can never be destroyed. Either way this is a physical experience that while involving the soul doesn't mean that it will be your spirit alone.


    Allow me to read Ezekiel, and if I haven't responded in a few (we'll say 7 days given the number of chapters) days, PM me or leave a note.

    Okay, I read the relevant section and I've found the problem. It's at the end of the section:

    Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. ’”
    Ezekiel 37:11-14

    Out of context it sounds really physical. They're out there and God is literally commanding Ezekiel to resurrect this zombie army of sorts. But the last paragraph answers to what exactly is going on there, and zombie army ain't it. The bones are representative of the people of Israel, who have been worshipping false idols for some three hundreds now. So, spiritually, they are long dead. As a corpse, just dried up old bones. They cry out from their decayed state that their hope is gone, which is because God has admittedly given them over to their ways. So what's happening in the valley here is a vision of the people of Israel, dead in sin crying out that their hope is gone. God is telling Ezekiel that He is going to bring them back. Renew their faith and bring them back into the fold. That's pretty much it. It's not a physical resurrection at all. I'm a bit shocked, actually since when I first saw that bit I had the same reaction you have, that it's a physical instance and that Ezekiel has straight up Necromancered an entire army. But that's not what's happening here at all. It's a metaphor about sin and spiritual rebirth.
    Well refuted. I'll concede the notion.


    I'm not trying to be obtuse. He's explaining death and the afterlife. You use the tools you've got and hell, maybe I'm wrong here and it is a physical death and spiritual transplant into another physical body.
    Bingo. You've finally gotten it. Paul believes in a physical resurrection. You will have a body. That is contradictory to the spiritual notion you espoused earlier. So am I to believe we agree now that Paul=physical and this is different from modern=spiritual thought?


    But he uses the same word to refer to the body of CHrist when talking about the CHurch calling groups of people "the body". So clearly there's an issue of context at work in the passages otherwise you'd be arguing that since soma means ONLY a "Physical body" then the many followers make up a PHYSICAL BODY of Christ like he's the Theological equivalent of Voltron.
    It's a metaphor but clearly in that case the people are literally the body of Christ. Just like how you literally EAT the body of christ "wink wink, nod nod" when you take communion. We are the embodiment of Christ's teachings. We must physically go out and carry out this message and as such we are literally the body of Christ.

    This is a physical thing.

    Again, not really sure how that's a coherent reply to what I'm saying.

    I actually have been. I've already read both letters to Corinth. Paul in fifteen talks about resurrection and how the Church in Corinth was rejecting that Christ came back and how, if that's the case, they might as well not even be Christians because Christianity without resurrection is like a car with no engine it's completely pointless. Again, I'm not entirely sure you have an accurate view of my position on this issue. Maybe I wasn't clear enough, or we haven't covered enough of it in detail, but your responses lead me to believe you have a pretty misunderstood view of my stance. I'll take fault for that.
    I think you've missed the boat. I may have come off like I was talking directly to you about YOUR beliefs. My point is that according to PAUL's beliefs any and all resurrections, whether we are talking about the resurrection of Jesus or your future resurrection at the 2nd coming.....are all physical and NOT spiritual. BTW this also leads into a conversation on WHERE is Heaven. Some say it's up above. Some say it's going to be built here on earth. And the same line of thought flies in teh face of most modern Christians whom think that upon death they will be in heaven.....though because of contradictions the view point could be instantly after you die you go to heaven (ie Christ on the cross talking to the theif) or like Paul AT the 2nd coming we will be made whole. So what happens to you in that between time? It's a great question. Catholics created the concept of purgatory on that very line of thought.

    I'm actually a little confused by your questions here. I really wish I wasn't, but I am. Is there perhaps some other way to phrase all that in a less...that...kind of manner?

    The best I can do to answer that is to provide the following. To be a Christian one must:

    1. Accept Jesus CHrist as the Lord and Savior of mankind who came and died on the cross, was buried for three days, and resurrected on the third day to appear as recorded in the gospels.
    2. That you have to cry out for God's mercy.
    3. That you DO have to be baptised*.


    *Baptism. This isn't because Baptism confers any spiritual effect. I don't believe it does, nor does the Church I attend. There's nothing scriptural to indicate that children or infants should be baptised or that ANYONE who doesn't believe or is incapable of belief (again, infants and such) should be baptised. That the purpose of baptism is to demonstrate through a physical ritual what has happened to your spiritually. It's occasion to demonstrate publicly what's happened in your life and share your testimony with others.

    In other words. What I point to for the criteria? Comes from the Gospels and Acts. And those above are the only criteria listed and that's how they're listed. That in every instance a person A: Repents, B: Accepts Christ as told, and C: Becomes baptised. That's pretty much it. Everything in addition to that as a requirement for salvation is "Gospel plus this" mentality that's leading people astray.
    That's according to YOUR version of Christianity. Though similar to others.....you will find there are Christians that disagree with you. I was a Methodist and that's close to what we said back then....but it's not exactly what we thought it took to be a Christian. Which is my point. Whom am I to believe of all the sects out there of Christians. What if I pick your method and I'm wrong? I didn't pick the right one and I go to hell. That's messed up. Is it my fault that I tried to find Jesus but in teh host of versions that are available I picked the wrong version!!! Isn't that God's fault for not being obvious or clear?

    Okay, you're still insisting that because specific views and interpretations won out over others, that therefore THAT must be what the criteria really is. But that doesn't make any sense. If such is the case, then every time some new influence comes in and gains sway, the necessary criteria will change. That would mean that the necessary criteria to be saved would always be changing. That just doesn't make any sense.

    By that logic, if a bunch of people claiming to be atheists start touting the Panspermia theory for the origins of life, and say that "Hey, that's what you gotta believe to be an atheist" then you would have to accept Panspermia otherwise, you're not an atheist. That logic is flawed.
    We aren't talking about Atheists. To be an Atheist all you have to do is not believe in and god. Now if you want to be a militant atheist you must go out and speak sternly against religious folks unapologetically. You're still an atheist....now we are dealing with how you chose to deliver message, if indeed you choose to deliver it at all. Many atheists are closet atheists because they are afraid of a society that is largely religious. We've seen you bastards go to war over such things! HAHAHAHA

    But in Christianity you can get into things like "If your faith ain't like our faith, you are going to hell" I see that in the county I work in all the time. People fighting against other churches. What's funny is that in this case everyone involved is some version of baptist. Are you a missionary baptist, a general baptist, primitive baptist? You can pick one but to the other 2 you are totally going to hell.

    ---------- Post added at 04:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:08 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Just because your neighbor may not recognize some bit of truth the same way you do, does not mean it's not truth. It just means you're both different in your level of understanding. We're not all robots, btw. We're all slightly different to a greater or smaller degree.

    Just because the members of one church recognize the truth of its pastos and sermons as truth, while another congregation may not understand it the same way, does not mean it's not truth.

    What is at the core of Christ' ianity within all the current denominations? I would say Christ, would you agree?
    So mormons are Christians? They have christ. If you say yes....then you are a hypocrite to many of your own, whom would argue otherwise. If you say no, then you are a hypocrite with your point that you are trying to make about "truth"


    Why would you limit God to work only through one agency, or why is your god restricted to only be experienced one way?
    How's gods plan working for him? not well. You might still be the largest in number, but those numbers are dwindling. I don't care how you guys posit that god works. You can do whatever mental gymnastics you need to do to believe that he is doing anything. But it would appear to me that because he's taken such a backseat position to his followers over the past 2000 years that he either doesn't care or people are starting to realize he just never was there. MY point is that God could have done a better job getting his message out there. But he left it up to the poor and uneducated to spread it. He allowed for the "word", his "word" to be altered and edited and very crudely put together so as to allow skeptics and criticizers to easily see how badly it's made. I think when it comes to message spreading I can conceive of better ways to do it than it's been done. If I can do a better job than god....and I'm not worthy of worship.....what makes him so great?


    Faith is a viable workable option-- and it works for many people. Another viable option we have is to come to know God. And then there's also both options together....
    Faith is a workable option when you are content to not really know. When you are content to act like the absurd is true, faith works. Coming to know god is nothing more than reading a bible and making a judgement call. You can't know god anymore than you can know Santa claus. You can talk to god all you want but he never talks back. So you are in fact talking to yourself. If through talking it out with yourself you can reveal to yourself a truth or a path to take.....great. But it didn't come from god. It came from an internal conversation you had with yourself.


    Or, because we've lost (forgotten) the way to live harmoniously, peacefully and with compassion.
    We haven't. Christians just like to accuse everyone of not being able to, because we are all broken sinners.


    Religions have come and gone throughout history. God is not restricted by religion. What good is a religion if man stops to practice it, especially if its principles are noble and pure? What good is a religion if it doesn't work? Work at what? What is the purpose of religion?
    When religions doe....so do gods. It's a wonderful thing.


    If a religion stops working for people -- in their lives, the cycles of change will eventually push it away from the masses as an option.
    And that has happened many times. Unfortunately, people will often turn from one religion to another. They think they NEED it. I can't count the people that show up on my door wanting to tell me how much better my life will be with Jesus. My life was **** with Jesus in it. MY life has gotten exceptionally better and more fulfilling without god. You guys are all about life after death. I'm all about life before death!


    Because along with the Book, it looks like God left us his Spirit for just this reason that you state .... it gives man, through the agency of grace, the ability to discern and recognize truth.
    OK then I guess my spirit likes to reason how god is a construct of man and therefore not real at all. So is that grace or is it god just being a dick and making me unable to believe on purpose?


    But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 114:26

    Now, just as with material tools, if we don't know how to use, let alone recognize a useful tool, we may conclude or think: "this tool doesn't work -- it's rubbish." On the other other hand, we can learn how to use the tool and become proficient at using it. So it is with spiritual tools, we must learn how to use (apply) them.
    I know how to use the tool. I know how to use it so well, the tool is now a tool of a different function. To me it's the faithful that often don't know how to use the tool because they often only use parts of the tool that they are comfortable using. There exist whole parts of the tool they will never ever use and in fact do not even want to learn about those parts of the tool because it makes their heads hurt just thinking about that part of the tool.


    Actually, he gave this world to man, for 'man to take dominion over.' That's a huge responsibility, if you ask me. I think that means if we break something, we own it (are accountable for it) thus we get to fix it -- just like in our personal lives.
    Man naturally has dominion over the world. It IS a huge responsibility and one doesn't need to confer with god to understand that. All atheists would agree with you in that if we break we buy....or at least fix it. Ever notice how praying about such things never seem to work. Atheists prefer to just go out there and get it done. And not just Atheists, there are plenty of people from all walks of life that clearly want to take care of this world. Actions are louder than words......and words are all we have from god.


    That's amazing RC. Have you talked to God recently where he gave you this revelation?
    I do not speak with god. I do not enjoy one sided conversations. I have read his book were thought crime is enough to condemn me to hell, just as much as me not having any faith is enough to condemn me to hell. I can go to "religion" and get answers about that. VERY few Christians have ever said anything different. IF you don't believe you go to hell. I know of one person off the top of my head that would say different and is a Christian....and his views are very heretical to other Christians.


    I'm sure I can point verses out in the Bible that would make a lot of sense to you.
    It's not that I read it and don't understand. It's that I read it and do understand. I understand that if guy 1 says X and guy 2 says Y and christianity says both are right when they clearly both can't be and then Christianity devotes an entire line of study (and rightly so) into making sense out of absurdity only to make the thing they are talking about more absurd.....the part I can't understand is why so many people claim they do understand. And then I remember the dirty parts of the bible that no one really wants to talk about. The fact that when I do bring up contradictions and issues within the bible how mad they become, and I understand I'm not dealing with someone that is healthy. they are given to delusion and very sick indeed. IT's the only way for now that I can explain how they could be so unmovable from such a poor position.


    The Bible wasn't even around when man was created.
    I wasn't around when man was created.....


    It seems that you've created this nice little box of mental constructs. To me, at least, it sounds like your box goes something like this.
    Because it makes no rational sense to me to take the Bible literally (I don't take it literally, btw), and because I have no way of knowing what is true and what is not true in this book, the whole book is rubbish. Because I choose not to take personal responsibly to understand whatever knowledge may be in this vast historical body of knowledge outlining thousands of years of history and events, this entire body of knowledge and information, the Bible, is rubbish. Furthermore, because I may lack the current spiritual discernment to know and understand the truth versus what is not truth in this book, the whole book is a waste and has nothing to teach and or offer me because I don't have the ability to know what is true versus what is not true.

    Does that sound about right?
    No it doesn't. You can find "truth" any any religion. It's an observable fact that if you treat people poorly, you will also be treated poorly. Thus love thy neighbor. I don't need a god to tell me that. I know that. I can see it at work in the world. I can chose to go against that line of thought only to learn from the experience after I deal with the consequences.

    The bible, as it pertains to the "truth" of god and the "divinity" of jesus is pure rubbish. I take full responsibility for what I know and how I came to know it. If I were content to blindly disagree with religion I wouldn't have spent all this time researching it. I read more religious books than I do I anything else. So you are way off the mark. I've taken it upon myself to learn about the bible historically and learn about it's evolution over time, across many biblical scholars and even across denominations. I can learn plenty of good things in the bible. None of which are not observable facts in the real world. When it comes to the supernatural....it's pure rubbish.

    But let me put the shoe on the other foot to be fair to the situation and discuss your book from your neat little box:
    Because my mommy and daddy have raised me to believe there is a god.....there is a god. As proof of this god I've been left a marvelous book that tells me all the "truth" I need to know. I've never read the whole thing. In fact, my people like to practice not reading the whole thing and focusing only on the parts we find really groovy and far out. This helps to keep the veil of the mystical alive for our religion. For if our religion were revealed to not be mystical it would in fact mean that we'd have to claim it a sham. We also like to ignore historical events that contradict events that happen in the bible, because it hurts too much to contemplate the "truth" about our religion. It's all we have. We couldn't function as normal people with out it. If we like it and it's in the bible it's true. IF we are ignorant of something in the bible it's not true because we didn't read that and damn it we are not going to either!

    Does THAT sound about right?

    In Heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here.

    Rogue Cardinal, Member of the God-Awful Atheist Syndicate


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  19. #58
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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    My bad. I meant to do that and got side tracked. I haven't slept much lately. At any rate, the story of Pauls conversion is told 3 times. Once by Luke and twice by Paul. Luke tells the tale in Acts 9:7. In this story the unnamed men with Paul see NOTHING but hear only a voice. It's says there was clearly "no man". Luke is telling the story in Acts 9. But later in Acts 22:9 Paul is telling the story in there he says the men with him saw a light...and heard NO voice. Acts 26:14 Paul is telling the story yet again and in this version he says, "I heard a voice speaking unto me." so in this one the men with him saw nothing and heard nothing. Paul contradicts himself at least once and if it was really he that told Luke the account Luke writes then in court we could call Paul an unreliable witness. He can't tell the story of the most significant event in his life the same way twice.
    Not quite. We get Paul's word twice on the matter. In both instances we're given an indicator that the men DID see something. In Paul's first telling he says they saw the light. In his second telling, he says the light blazed like the sun all around them and they all fell prostrate on the ground. In both instances, Paul's details are pretty much the same. They saw the light. THey heard the voice, but didn't understand it. And the message was the same. The only difference is in Luke's telling, and we don't have any good information for why Luke, who traveled with Paul, would've gotten it wrong/different. But when Paul himself is being quoted telling it, it's the same both times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Jesus is demonstrating to the man that he needs to do works.
    I disagree...obviously. Note the inclusory clause, "Then come, and follow me". His works still won't be good enough. Because works aren't the means to salvation. Only through the grace of faith (Following Christ) is salvation found. It's not about works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Thanks for making my point for me. James says you MUST do works and have faith. Paul says you need faith alone. BTW just because you have have faith does not mean you will commit to good works. You should, but many don't.


    Faith is what saves you.....but if you do nothing with that faith then you are doomed. It's like having knowledge of what you are supposed to do but you don't do anything with it. James supports YOUR version of theology....Paul doesn't.

    Contradiction.
    We're comparing fruit stands and supermarkets here. James isn't saying you HAVE to do works AND have Faith. He's saying that IF you HAVE Faith you WILL do works. The works themselves aren't the focus. It's the faith that saves you. Your works are a byproduct of that Faith. Paul says the same thing. That through the grace of Faith we're saved. They don't disagree at all here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    Bingo. You've finally gotten it. Paul believes in a physical resurrection. You will have a body. That is contradictory to the spiritual notion you espoused earlier. So am I to believe we agree now that Paul=physical and this is different from modern=spiritual thought?
    I have become completely confused and I think I found where. Somewhere in here the subject became twisted to me and I think it was the plethora of resurrection-related passages. In any event, I think the clarifying point here is that the body dies, the spirit continues and is planted into a new body. Jesus remarks along those lines in answering the Sadduccees (two many C's?) when they ask about the widow of seven brothers. Jesus explains that we'll be "made like the angels" which can, I would imagine, be taken any number of ways, but the only consistent fashion it can be interpreted as meaning is that our soul is positioned in a new body with a new understanding of things.

    I'm still not entirely sure how I got confused, or why it was confusing. I'm pretty sure I misread or misunderstood something you said. I'll just ask next time and save us some trouble.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    That's according to YOUR version of Christianity. Though similar to others.....you will find there are Christians that disagree with you. I was a Methodist and that's close to what we said back then....but it's not exactly what we thought it took to be a Christian. Which is my point. Whom am I to believe of all the sects out there of Christians. What if I pick your method and I'm wrong? I didn't pick the right one and I go to hell. That's messed up. Is it my fault that I tried to find Jesus but in teh host of versions that are available I picked the wrong version!!! Isn't that God's fault for not being obvious or clear?
    It's why you look back at the Bible and study it to find the answer. Those three criteria I listed are the ONLY recurrent factors. In every case of conversion recorded throughout Acts, it is always repentance, acceptance, and baptism. Belief, which is to say Faith, is always stressed. Not works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Cardinal View Post
    We aren't talking about Atheists. To be an Atheist all you have to do is not believe in and god.
    And that's according to YOUR version of Atheism. See what I did there?
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    They were however aware that they could be wrong.

    There is a wide gap between emperical, rational, theories of how the universe functions, and the supernatural or magic. The latter we can pretty much just make up what we need to fill in the blanks of our theory.

    For example. God created the universe old to trick us and test out faith. Or God has free will but it's a different kind of free will than humas because God can't choose to be evil. God created this special state for himself and is able to because he is God and all powerful.
    Sure, there are articles of faith that can just be 'fill-in-the-blank'. But it seems like you're making a much larger claim: that articles of faith are necessarily 'fill-in-the-gap' or ad hoc.

    You could just make up theories of how the universe functions, too. Rain happens because of cow farts! Global warming! Flat earth! Dark matter!

    You can always abuse the system. That's not anything special.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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    Re: There is no Christian Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Sure, there are articles of faith that can just be 'fill-in-the-blank'. But it seems like you're making a much larger claim: that articles of faith are necessarily 'fill-in-the-gap' or ad hoc.

    You could just make up theories of how the universe functions, too. Rain happens because of cow farts! Global warming! Flat earth! Dark matter!

    You can always abuse the system. That's not anything special.
    No, I think you've misunderstood him. I think what he's saying is that propositions accepted as articles of faith are very often no more than fill-in-the-gap or ad hoc explanations and so in the absence of any evidence that shows otherwise, it's prudent to believe that the "God-did-it" article of faith thing is likewise an ad hoc explanation for what happens in the world.

 

 
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